On Thursday, ABC will air back-to-back episodes of PRIVATE PRACTICE, the second of which will bring to the forefront Dell, when a terrible explosion at his house lands daughter Betsey and wife Heather in the hospital. And here to talk a little bit about the episode, where Dell has been all season long, and of course VERONICA MARS is Chris Lowell.
Dell has really been pushed to the background this season. Can you talk a little bit about why that happened, and if this Thursday’s episode will mark somewhat of a resurgence for your character?
When Shonda [Rhimes] and I talked about doing less episodes this season [Lowell will reportedly be in 13 of the season’s 22 episodes] the idea behind it was instead of putting Dell in every episode — where a lot of the times he wasn’t doing anything particularly significant to the episode, show, or plot — give Dell less episodes, but make his roles in them more significant. Thursday is a huge episode, I certainly prefer coming to work and having really meaty stuff to do everyday. And from what I understand you’ll be seeing Dell around more and more.
Being significantly younger than the rest of the cast, how challenging has it been as an actor to fit into the practice?
I think I had a similar struggle to my character in the sense that the whole plot-line for Dell in the first season was him trying to prove himself and trying to establish himself as a central member of the practice. And when you sign onto a show — especially this show, a Shonda Rhimes show, with a cast which is so strikingly talented and when GREY’S ANTOMY was at its peek, where I’m like the wildcard essentially — for me, it was a similar struggle, and not one imposed by anyone but myself wanting to prove to these other actors that I was good enough to work with them. The ironic thing is that I don’t think they ever treated me as anything less than equal. Getting to work with actors and writers this talented has been a really beautiful thing.
The first two seasons really had fans thinking that Naomi might one day reciprocate Dell’s feeling for her, do you think there’s any chance the story will go there during the latter half of the season?
I hope so, I’ve been wanting Dell to get laid for a long time. I feel like the last time Dell had sex was when he impregnated Heather with Betsey! So I’m hoping that he’s gonna get a little action before the season ends, and frankly, I have absolutely no objection to that action being gotten with Audra McDonald (Naomi). That would make me very happy. But Shonda keeps her cards very close to the vest. I certainly didn’t see myself getting married in episode 8, that definitely came out of left field.
Do you still get recognized from VERONICA MARS?
VERONICA MARS fans are the craziest fans of them all, and I mean that in a good way. I’ve never met any fans of any show who are as die hard as them. When I started on VERONICA MARS I remember the producers coming up to me and saying, “Look, don’t be offended but every one of the fans are going to hate you because you’re essentially breaking up Logan and Veronica! But we cast you because we’re hoping they won’t hate you as much.” I still hang out with those guys all the time. Ryan Hansen and Kristen Bell are two of my best friends out here. It was definitely a fun ride and I had a great time on that show.
And finally, your penchant for scoring roles with some of my favorite actors continues this December with the release of Up in the Air What was it like working with George Clooney and Jason Batemen on a Jason Reitman film?
It was as cool as it sounds and just about sums it up in terms of the people who you want to be working with right now. Clooney, Batemen and Jason Reitman are just incredible professionals and when I say that I mean that not only do they have a very dedicated work ethic, on top of it they make it seem painless. I mean you wouldn’t want to leave the set. It was one of those rare occurrences when you’re just like, “Nah, let’s just stay for a couple more hours.” And I think it’s really all due to the atmosphere that Reimtan and Clooney create on set.